September 1998 Volume 21 Number 1
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is renowned for its collection of polychrome wood sculptures, not only European, but also Indian, American and Japanese sculptures. I would like to discuss two different non-invasive processes used for the treatment of a Momoyama period Japanese Seated Fox and an eighteenth century Spanish bust of a Sorrowing Female Saint.
Each sculpture is the product of an evolving tradition in their respective cultures. Both sculptures share a commonality in material, polychrome wood, and standard criteria for their treatment.
The first consideration was reversibility. Secondly, flexibility; the treatment had to accommodate the expansion and contraction of the wood without being invasive structurally. Next, unobtrusive-ness; the treatment should remain visible as a repair but integrate sympathetically with the piece. And lastly, the materials and treatment chosen would be selected for their ease of application.
Obviously each object has unique requirements for safe mounting, but certain pieces will test the creativity of the mountmaker more than others. Engineering a mount that gives sufficient support and capture while maintaining the aesthetics of the object requires careful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the item, as well as the vision of the curatorial and exhibit design staff. Bringing fresh ideas of how to accomplish this vision in a conservationally sound manner may be the true test of the mountmaker's skill.
Three examples will demonstrate the techniques and decisions necessary to maintain the integrity and safety of the object while satisfying curatorial needs. The mounting of a Bella Coola transformation mask, a fractured slab of fossilized bird tracks weighing nearly 1.5 tons, and clutches of eggs will be discussed.
GCI has been involved with indoor air quality research since the mid-1980s, especially with respect to preservation of collections. This work has included a number of surveys to determine the extent of the problem of organic carbonyl pollutants, formaldehyde, formic acid and acetic acid, in museum environments as well as the trends associated with these potentially devastating pollutants. These surveys demonstrated that areas with the highest concentrations were microenvironments with little air exchange and constructed of inferior materials. Areas with high air circulation and air exchange typically had the lowest concentrations, such as galleries and stores. Research was then focused on the detection and mitigation of organic carbonyl pollutants in microenvironments, display cases and storage cabinets.
A commercially available passive-sampling device (PSD) for formaldehyde was evaluated and found to be accurate in museum environments when used properly. Dr. Lorraine Gibson developed a quantitative to the low parts per billion (ppb) PSD for formic acid and acetic acid at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. This museum diffusion tube for organic acids was evaluated and also found to be accurate when properly prepared, deployed, and analyzed.
The building of the Getty Center Museum allowed the implementation of GCI research and strategies. A full study of a new museum was conducted from 1996 to 1998. Those efforts related to indoor-generated pollutants will briefly be discussed. The GCI Museum Research Laboratory under the direction of Dr. David A. Scott tested all materials proposed for use. Only materials that passed the battery of tests were used in areas with art. To confirm the success of this great effort, indoor air quality monitoring was conducted in numerous locations. No organic carbonyl pollutants were detected above background or baseline levels.
In June 1998 an International Symposium of museum professionals was held in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss detection and mitigation of organic carbonyl pollutants research. There was great interest in this constant threat to museum collections. It was proposed to develop two databases. One would collate information on materials tested since 1994 and the other would compile the results of air quality monitoring including detailed information on locations, construction materials, objects and damage. Inter- and intra-laboratory comparisons indicated that detailed protocols for the preparation, storage, transport, deployment, retrieval, analysis and interpretation of passive sampling devices were definitely needed for reliable results. A document will soon be available summarizing the June meeting. Contact Cecily Grzywacz for more information.
The work of the late Donald Judd contains some of the most important examples of 20th century fabricated minimalist sculpture. The pieces vary in appearance, size and spatial relationships, and they are made from a range of materials. Still, most of these pieces are made of industrially produced materials, such as stainless steel, copper, aluminum, galvanized metals, concrete and acrylics. In Judd's work, the material and the type of surface that could be achieved with it defined the content of the object itself.
The unique surface of these sculptures can be difficult to maintain. As a result of this, some institutions have applied protective coatings to the sculptures. However, unless specifically tinted, these pieces were never coated by the artist or fabricators - and they were intended to remain that way.
Most of Judd's sculpture was made in collaboration with fabricators. The degree of fabrication of a piece or group of pieces is not visible, or specifically defined. Irrespective of material or method of manufacture, what these pieces all share is the artist's attempt to create a specific object with a neutral identity. What this means is that only the art object itself provides the aesthetic experience to the viewer. The object's art historical context is not relevant to this process.
Although Judd's works may appear to be of a type, each surface is, in fact, quite specific. It is known that Judd worked with a range of fabricators in the United States, England, Germany and Switzerland to achieve his aesthetic goals.
This information is important to conservators because the pieces are difficult to work on due to the following: 1) The industrial materials are manipulated by the artist and fabricator in ways that are not apparent from the material itself; 2) The physical process by which many of Judd's pieces are made makes localized treatment impossible; 3) The surfaces are very delicate, and intentionally uncoated. Refinishing poses serious technical and ethical issues, and for these reasons, the role of the fabricator is critical to our understanding of conservation questions.
Donald Judd was concerned about damage to his artwork, and throughout his career he was very involved in aspects of their conservation and re-fabrication. He was particularly outspoken about damage caused by neglect and/or poor installation.
This talk is a description of a conservator's discovery about how a body of work was made, and the future dilemmas faced by conservators and fabricators from the inevitable effects of time.
This talk is a modified version of a presentation I gave with Alfred Lippencott, the fabricator of Judd's 100 aluminum boxes, at the Donald Judd Symposium in New York in 1997. The symposium was devoted to the particular problems encountered with the storage, handling, exhibition, and conservation of Donald Judd's three-dimensional artworks.
Susan R. Schmalz, Catherine C. McLean, Sandra L. Rosenbaum
One of the treasures of LACMA's costume and textiles collection is a gold- and silver-metal thread embroidered satin gown in the style of a European Mantua, dated 1695-1700. There are fewer than a dozen mantuas known in the world, and it is only one of two in the United States.
When the gown was acquired it was in a mid-19th century form and last known to have dressed a madonna statue in an Italian church. Curators and conservators at the museum determined the original state of the gown to be much earlier than the 19th century because of the embroidery and quality of the silk.
In 1991 restoration of the gown was undertaken by LACMA textile conservators. After much study, the 19th century dress was disassembled and reconstructed into its 17th century form. In 1996 after it was exhibited in Germany, it traveled to England to be examined by European costume scholars. This meeting of experts contributed more information about the gown and led to further research by curators and conservators. The most recent findings and interpretation of the dress were the subject of an exhibition at the museum this summer.
This paper will discuss the meticulous restoration of the dress in 1991, modifications suggested by European experts, the most current research findings, as well as the historical background of the mantua style.
Marilen Pool and Nancy Odegaard
The Conservation Laboratory at the Arizona State Museum has conducted an innovative project over the last year involving a cross cultural information exchange of modern conservation technology and cultural perspectives between a post-graduate conservation Fellow and two American Indian apprentices. This NEA funded project has provided the opportunity for the apprentices to combine their cultural knowledge and perspectives with the activities of collection care and conservation on museum objects. This setting and approach has encouraged the sharing of unique skills and knowledge and has provided the opportunity for a professional conservation career to the apprentices. The experience has enabled both the apprentices and the Fellow to make more appropriate decisions in the area of ethnographic and archaeological conservation where there is a greater need for interaction with American Indian communities.
This presentation will describe the concept of the project, including the background for its development and program goals. The process of recruitment of the apprentices, teaching protocols developed by the Conservator and the Fellow and projects successfully completed by the apprentices and the Fellow will also be discussed. Finally, there will be a discussion of the cross cultural information exchange between the project personnel, who have developed an excellent teaching and working relationship through which the sharing of cultural perspectives, aesthetics, ethics and more specifically American Indian lifeways and values have taken place. This relationship has been rewarding for all and has received considerable professional interest and praise from within and outside the Arizona State Museum.
Databases do not need to be expensive and difficult to use in order to provide gains in quality and productivity during research and field surveys. On the one hand, Historic Resources Group has designed large, complex databases which track hundreds of U.S. Section 106 compliance projects, have a variety of data fields, and can generate state and federal inventory forms. On the other hand, we have designed two databases which are small and easy to adapt to specific project requirements. Most PC and Mac platform users can use database programs with easy interfaces to write simple databases. Learning the software requires little investment of time, and the hardware requirements are minimal. The greatest productivity is gained by typing in information directly from a source to a notebook computer in the field.
The first format is a "Construction History" database into which information about a building and its elements can be recorded. The element is categorized, text description is typed, a date is assigned, and sources are recorded. The method provides an efficient way to record information directly from a research source. Reports weave together information and observations from disparate sources which are related by time and aspect. The reports may provide the basis for a narrative history, or elements of a historic structure report.
The second format is an "As-Found Conditions" database which can be used to inventory, describe, and record the physical condition of building elements. The nature and scale of the undertaking will determine the categories of elements. Recording rough dimensions during the field survey provides a basis for producing rehabilitation cost budgets.
These tools have been used for small projects, such as a rehabilitation study for a group of seven bungalows, large structures such as the Rose Bowl, and district surveys in Hollywood and the Hughes Aircraft Industrial Historic District at Playa Vista. Currently, a third, inter-relational database set is being used to write a historic structure report and cyclical maintenance plan for the Gamble House (a National Historic Landmark designed by Charles and Henry Greene) in Pasadena, CA.
Two separate techniques will be discussed for applying a mask to water soluble media that will allow aqueous treatment. The first example will demonstrate how a mask was used to coat the verso of several Jasper Johns prints that were signed in water soluble colored pencil. The temporary mask permitted the prints to receive full treatment.
The second mask technique is a general description of the use of alcohols to provide a timed resist during aqueous treatments.
The Getty Conservation Institute works internationally to further the preservation and appreciation of the world's cultural heritage for the use of present and future generations. Part of this mission is to record the physical heritage, to support conservation, monitoring and dissemination activities. The Institute has recognized the advantages of recording the physical heritage digitally. The Getty Conservation Institute, through the efforts of (the Digital Users Group) Chris Gray, Gaetano Palumbo, Mitchell Bishop and myself have implemented a plan of action to begin to take advantage of these new digital tools.
This plan consists of four major parts:
Establishment of a Digital Studio.
All relevant equipment and software has been collected into one area. This lab has easy access with flexible hours. Support is provided for users of the Digital Studio with an extensive software library. Support for field campaigns, preparing equipment for field work and testing equipment is some of the work done in this lab.
Training the conservation staff in the use of new tools.
The Institute provides three levels of training: 1) management, for an overview of which tools could be used on a project; 2) hands-on training for conservators to create condition reports; and 3) training by consultants in specific technologies such as GIS or photogrammetry. Classes for conservators include GIS, CAD, Photoshop, etc. In-the-field training of our international partners is also an important component. Any tool we use for a project our partner must also be able to use.
Creation of standards for use in digital work related to heritage projects. The GCI is currently working on standards for the graphic documentation of cultural heritage projects. These standards include the steps for graphic recording and guidelines for the appropriate method and use of tools.
Research and dissemination
Continuing review of new technologies appropriate to the current projects is a large component of the Institute's plan. The GCI has invited numerous field-experts to advise on the use of GIS, surveying and photogrammetry. This information will then be available to the conservation community.
Current projects include:
In 1999, the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) will mount an exhibit with an apocalyptic theme to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Albrecht D�rer's Apocalypse. While working as an intern at UNC-CH in 1997, I participated in the treatment of a color lithograph slated for inclusion in this exhibit. The lithograph, depicting a very graphic scene of the 1889 flood and fire in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had several large tears at one edge that extended into the image. The tears had been repaired from the back with pressure sensitive adhesive tape, and the adhesive residue had caused heavy staining that was visible from the front, resulting in severe disfigurement of the right side of the image.
Tape stains are often complex and cannot be removed with only one solvent. Because of the severity of the staining on this print, I decided to try an approach that is often faster and involves less exposure to vapors than the traditional use of a solvent "cocktail." This approach does not rely on a mixture of solvents, but instead uses the solvents sequentially in order of their decreasing polarity on the Teas chart.
Using the solvents in sequential order, from the most polar to the least polar and back again to the most polar, creates "solvation shells." In a solvation shell, a component of the stain is surrounded by the solvent most similar to it and therefore most likely to dissolve it. This solvent then reacts with the next solvent in the sequence and attracts a different component of the stain. After the sequence is completed, the dissolved stain is then released when the sequence is reversed.
For the treatment of the Johnstown lithograph, I compared the sequential and mixed solvent approaches after identifying five solvents that were successful in removing some component of the stains: ethanol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, and xylene. Using a suction disc, I applied a cocktail of the solvents to a 1 cm square area of the stain, and the stain was completely removed in 35 minutes. I then applied the same solvents to another 1 cm square area of the stain in sequential order, from ethanol (most polar) to xylene (least polar), and back again to ethanol.
The stain was completely removed in 15 minutes. While both methods were effective in removing the stain, it was possible to greatly reduce both the time needed to complete the treatment and exposure to the solvents using the sequential solvent technique.
Jack C. Thompson
My grandfather was born James Littlejohn Thomson, on the farm Mill of Dunnydeer, Barony of Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1877. Nearly 100 years after he and his family emigrated to North America I had an opportunity to visit the old homestead. Some things had changed, but the Thomson family was still farming in the neighborhood.
My grandfather passed a farmer's knowledge and understanding of mechanics on to my father who passed it on to me, and I appear to have passed it on to my son, Sam.
The manner in which this knowledge has manifested itself in me is that I have become a fine arts conservator with a particular interest in technology. Mostly pre-industrial technology, but with an appreciation for modern heavy industrial machinery in such manifestations as highways, hydroelectric dams, and large block V-8's.
In 1984, Hugo Peller, a master bookbinder from Switzerland, came to Portland to teach for 4 weeks at my lab. The first class was to be about medieval binding techniques and he asked me to teach that one. One of the students was my friend, Jim Croft. Jim and his family had recently purchased land in the southern panhandle of Idaho, about 90 miles S.E. of Spokane, Washington.
Back in the woods, off the grid (i.e., no electric power), and quiet. Over the next couple of years I thought about the interest in early technology expressed by the students of that workshop, and I began to plan teaching a regular course at my lab, in Portland. And then I would listen to the buses and trucks go by and the telephone would ring, and it did not seem like such a good idea.
In 1986 the first Technology of the Medieval Book workshop was held on Jim's property, in the quiet woods of Idaho. A couple of years later I purchased some property of my own up there and added on to an existing cabin.
There was no workshop in 1990, because I had talked Jim into letting me build a medieval-style papermill below a pond on his land. Some of my friends from Portland came to help and we used the workshop time to clear the land, set the forms and pour concrete. During the next year, Jim poured concrete to make a tub and built the hammers to work in the tub. In Portland, I designed the wheel which Ed Gordon built; I cut and formed the steel which Lou Flannery welded into shape to form the hammer faces; I cut down a tree of the right diameter and built a camshaft with Herb Mettler's help, and we had three-hammer stampmill in operation near the end of the 1991 workshop. In addition to the people mentioned above, my son, Sam, helped, as did Brian Griswold, from Portland, Nickie Romanuck, from Canada, Allan Thenen, from Minnesota, Stephen Wilson, from England, and Ed Clark, from Idaho. I began to think of adding "Millwright" to my business card.
In 1997 I purchased five acres of land adjoining my cabin. The land came with a pond which occupies just over one acre. Approx. 300 ft. NW of the pond is a little flat spot, about 10 feet below the level of the pond. That is where I plan to build the next mill, Mill of Dunnydeer.
It will have an 8 ft. diameter overshot waterwheel operating 9 hammers in three tubs. Three hammers for breaking rags into thread; three hammers for breaking thread into fiber; three hammers for hydrating the fibers. The building will measure 12' X 20' X 15' high, with a drying loft on the second floor.
Construction will be timber frame, with wattle & daub infill. Up a small rise to the SE, through the Service berry bushes and back behind some trees will be a half-dozen hovels for people to live in during workshops. Wattle & daub bits, about 7' X 10' with cedar shake roofs.
And then there is the Hollander roll to build, so as to be able to compare the relative efficiency of stampmills against Hollanders, using the same power source, which was the reason for building these papermills in the first place. Research. But it don't hurt to have a grin or two along the way.
The history of photographers' mounts in the twentieth-century flows from at least three streams of influence: collections of mounted intaglio prints; books and other publications incorporating photographic images; and nineteenth-century commercial mounting practices. The collection of the Center for Creative Photography, which was studied in this project, is particularly strong in twentieth-century photographers, especially American but including significant examples from Europe and other parts of the world. In this project, the collection is studied to determine broad trends and influences among photographers from the Pictorialists to Contemporary artists. Special mention will be made of particularly striking or significant individual examples of photographers' mounting choices, methods, and materials.
The Colorado Artifact Conservation Center is a partnership program between the Colorado Historical Society and the Colorado Department of Corrections. Staff of the Colorado Historical Society manage the program and train inmates at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in restoration and conservation techniques for train cars, carriages and other specialty large artifacts. This talk will describe that program.
The partnership program was initiated in 1992. The center works closely with Colorado Historical Society curatorial staff and independent researchers to ensure historical accuracy. Projects of the Colorado Artifact Conservation Center have included the treatment of the Colorado State Capitol civil war cannons, Passenger Car #76 of the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the Fort Collins Museum Deadwood stagecoach, an Abbott and Downing mud wagon and a number of carriages and sleighs. The Center also produces reproduction artifacts on special order. The program has raised the awareness and general standard of similar projects throughout the state. Many of the projects have been funded by the State Historical Fund whose revenues are earmarked for historic preservation and generated by gambling monies.
The documentation of conservation treatments is an indispensable part of the conservation process. Photography is the accepted method for imaging. Photographs are processed for permanency, held by the conservator until the records are transferred to someone else, an archives or a vendor. Building on these precedents, digital tools may now be useful for conservation documentation.
Of the possible methods for creating digital images: flatbed scanners, film scanners and digital cameras, two of each group are evaluated from a field of dozens. In addition, two printers are evaluated for compatibility with conservation documentation standards.
The main issues with the digital format are future file compatibility and migration. Electronic records are different from physical records. The digital format requires a new paradigm for its preservation. Digital records must be (1) migrated from one format to the next keeping them compatible with software that reads them; (2) migrated from one storage device to the next; and (3) backed-up with one copy onsite and additional security copies stored offsite. The fact that exact copies can be made and that all are indistinguishable from the original is a profound evolutionary improvement. The digital format trades continuous reproducibility for continuous readability via the eye, until the paper or film eventually degrades naturally. The longevity of the latter is presently longer than the life of non-migrated file formats, hard drives, tapes or CD-ROM's. Digital materials cannot just be locked away without a storage strategy, as we do with paper-based materials.
There are three paths for producing conservation documentation: (1) direct to digital camera, through imaging software to output for the client or inclusion in a report; (2) create 35 mm slides, scan slides using a film scanner, through imaging software to output for client/reports; or (3) scan direct from flat artworks or from photographic prints of artwork, through imaging software to output for client/reports.
The final concern is output. The basic laser printer is ideal for text documents, but cannot deliver high performance with images, with notable exceptions. There are several types of color printers with high resolution and good color gamut. Permanence of the inks and paper is critical. Conservators know to select permanent paper or coated plastic film for output. Thus, the focus is on ink stability.
According to work done by Henry Wilhelm, there are a limited number of light-stable ink sets. The Lyson ink set shows stability close to that of the most permanent photographic images or better, about 70+ years of continuous exposure at 5400 lux/hrs per day or 140 M lux/hr for a total of 1Glx-hr+. These inks are normally used in Iris large-format ($30-100K) inkjet printers. The Lyson ink set is also made for use in the Epson 800, 1520 and 3000 ($400, $800 & $2,000) inkjet printers. The problem is the inks are water-based and images remain water soluble after drying.
Pigment-based inks can also be very light stable. A relatively inexpensive large-format inkjet printer, the ENCAD Chroma 24 ($2,400), can use the ENCAD GO pigment ink set. Wilhelm has found the GO ink set to be stable beyond 100 years (1.4 Glx-hrs), but the dried ink also remains water soluble.
A less expensive pigment-based system is the MicroDry inks used in MD-series Alps printers. The MD 1300 ($500) is capable of 600 dpi on 8.5" X 11" stock. There is no Wilhelm longevity data for the MicroDry ink set, but he does have evaluations in progress. Alps internal documents show the MicroDry inks to be very light stable (presented at EMSIG meeting Arlington, AIC, 1998). If one adopts the digital file migration paradigm, determines the image capture tool that suits one's needs, and prints with water and light stable inks on permanent papers, digital imaging is a viable method for conservation documentation.
While the topic of this presentation is the present and how computers can assist the conservator today, I will spend a few minutes revisiting the presentation that James Druzik and I made at the WAAC Annual Meeting in Oakland in 1983 (I think). We can now laugh at the then state of the art -- things certainly have changed a lot.
Computer hardware is many hundreds of times more powerful than the toys we discussed 15 years ago. Software has changed dramatically, too. FileMaker Pro, the database I use, takes and absolute minimum of one and one half megabytes of computer memory to run. That is 30 times the memory that was present in my entire computer in 1983. But what hasn't changed in 15 years are questions about how a computer can be programmed to best serve the conservator.
While there is probably no perfect database implementation for conservators, we can get successively closer to that elusive perfect database by sharing and discussing working databases, either those used for a specific project or a studio database. With each different implementation, we see more clearly the potential utility and are more aware of the limitations of database systems.
In addition to discussing some of the more abstract problems of database design, I will demonstrate a number of the databases I have designed using FileMaker Pro. These include project specific databases for an outdoor mural survey and the survey of all of the components of Judy Chicago's Dinner Party, and a studio database which is a more general purpose tool for managing conservation documentation.
Suppliers / Manufacturers
FileMaker Pro (version 4.0 recommended)
FileMaker, Inc. (Formerly Claris)
A subsidiary of Apple Computer, Inc.
Mitchell Hearns Bishop and Virginia M. Funkhouser
Several species of cactus have been employed as sources of traditional additives in the production of lime plasters and the conservation of earthen Architecture in Latin America. For example, one of the currently widespread conservation practices is to use the water residue from the boiling of the commonly available Nopal cactus (Opuntia spp) in the production of lime putty, which is then used as a finishing coat on lime plaster used to protect or repair adobe churches in Mexico and the American Southwest.
This is said to improve workability (handling properties), reduce cracking, increase durability and/or hydrophobize the surface. However, there is no consensus on the specific effects or a clear understanding of how the components present in the water soluble extract might affect the plaster. The ethnobotany of Nopal is presented, including its composition and uses in a variety of contexts. This summary includes the increasingly available and useful information from Internet sources.
Mitchell Hearns Bishop and Virginia M. Funkhouser
This paper is intended as an update to an article published in the WAAC Newsletter in 1992 entitled Literature Sources for Conservation Research. A great deal has happened in the information world since 1992 and the world of conservation has changed significantly. It is our intention to revisit this material and discuss new information sources available to conservation professionals.
A discussion of the status of conservation research also seems timely. The obvious agent of change is the Internet and WEB search engines now routinely used for navigating the net. While this has provided unprecedented access to information to anyone with an internet connection it has also had some negative effects.
The demographic shift of employment for conservators from the museum environment to private practice has had a decentralizing effect and shifted professional membership from the national organization to the regional organizations. Conference attendance and professional activity has also reflected these trends. As a consequence, conservators have less time for research and there has been a fundamental shift for them in access to information.
J. Claire Dean
The need for professionals to go out into their communities and help educate the public - especially young people - is well known and recognized as invaluable community service. Such work is not only a positive contribution to society, but can also be enormously satisfying.
Drawing on personal experience, three volunteer education projects will be outlined that involve presenting conservation in a way that we hope helps encourage young people to study the sciences. The projects discussed are the work of Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (known by the acronym AWSEM - an organization that encourages young women to study science), Salmon Camp (a science education project aimed at encouraging Native American kids to tackle science yet develop and maintain their connections to traditional ways of life), and the involvement of school students from the Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon, in the making of an episode on archaeology for the kid's science TV show "Bill Nye the Science Guy".
Jo Q. Hill
In this image-rich, music-accompanied, poetry-recited slide lecture, contextual photographs and artifacts of the Yoruba culture will be shown. The Yoruba-speaking peoples who inhabit southwestern Nigeria, Benin, and parts of Togo are among the most populous peoples in Africa. Important aspects of the Yoruba universe, including social, religious, and political institutions are revealed through the beaded arts. The earliest Yoruba beadwork, dated to the classical period (1000-1500 A.D.) at Ife, made use primarily of stone, coral, and highly-prized blue glass beads (segi). Later, the availability of multicolored glass seed beads introduced by European traders brought about a new flowering of this traditional art.
The Yoruba cosmos is comprised of two distinct yet inseparable realms: "orun," the invisible spiritual realm inhabited by gods, ancestors, and a large number of lesser divinities (orisa), all of whom exert influence on life, and "aye," the visible world of the living. The art of divination as practiced in the Ifa system brings order to the world and provides a communication link between this and the otherworld. Ifa diviners, as well as "obas," priests, "orisa" initiates, and elders (all of whom wear beads as a mark of their special position), are cosmic mediators between the two realms.
Ifa, the god of divination, is considered the universal king; at the same time, the terrestrial king (oba) is himself considered divine. Thus, divination is closely related to kingship, and this can be seen in the sumptuously beaded sacred regalia worn by diviners, surpassed only by those of the royalty.
To say that beads have special cultural significance for the Yoruba is an understatement - beads are associated with the glory of the gods as well as kingship; they are symbols of empowerment, protection, wealth, and status; they embody divinity and the power of transcendence. Beads are among the most precious possessions for the Yoruba, so precious in fact, that they are equated with children, as in the saying "ileke l'omo," meaning "children are like beads on a string."
The Fowler Museum catalog of this travelling exhibition (depicting both historic and recently-fabricated Yoruba royal regalia, ritual costumes, and other artifacts) will be available for the attendees' perusal after the lecture. Special thanks is due to conservator Irena Calinescu for her IMS-CP funded assistance in the treatment of some of the artifacts, as well as for providing some of the text for this abstract.
The head that will wear a crown of riches,
Emerges from a shining brass colander!
(has chosen a good destiny)
The neck that will wear a double necklace of beads,
like okun beads.
Emerges from a shining brass colander!
Beads of the waist that will wear a fine garment,
A royal robe that glitters brightly.
Emerges from a shining brass colander... .
Guy Rose was part of a group of American Impressionists who transplanted themselves to Giverny in the first decade of this century, painting in the vicinity of Claude Monet.
The Scattered Covey, an oil painting on canvas, was executed between 1903-07 and was later used as an illustration for an article written by his wife, Ethel Rose, for a Scribner's Magazine of 1911. The painting was given to Alice Hosched�, Claude Monet's second wife who kept it rolled in an attic where it was severely water-damaged along the top edge. The painting has been in the Hosched�-Monet family until the present. This paper describes the treatment and reintegration procedure. Some of the ethical dilemmas encountered in private practice in balancing the demands of the client with the constraints imposed by our profession are discussed.
Acryloid B72 10% in Shell Cyclosol 53
Dr. Duane Chartier
Projects of all sizes require computing. We often fail to be quantitative in finances, business, estimating whether we are in a museum job or in private practice. However, there is an increasing pressure to be cost effective. Therefore the use of existing programs or programs that can be modified for project management, accounting, time tracking, and research is essential to improve our business practices and allow us to get on with the job we really want to do - conservation.
This paper will present several case studies of large scale project management where the use of computer data bases, spreadsheets, accounting programs and digital imaging greatly improved the efficiency and quality of the projects.
Michael Jusko and John Griswold
In 1984, the Walt Disney Company acquired The Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection of African Art, with the intention of placing it on display in a planned African Pavilion at EPCOT. The collection is comprised of approximately 525 artifacts, primarily from West Africa, and dating from the 16th through the early 20th century. Although the installation at EPCOT never came to fruition, the collection has been stored at Walt Disney Imagineering and cared for by the Art Collections Management Department. Selected artifacts have been loaned to institutions worldwide for inclusion in exhibitions. They have also been made available to scholars for study. While the collection has been inventoried and housed in secure, climate controlled facilities, a working understanding of the nature and condition of the artifacts was limited to about 150 pieces published in a well known exhibition catalog, For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Tishman Collection, edited by Susan Vogel. This book was produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art when the collection was on extended loan from the Tishmans. It has been these artifacts that have been most frequently requested for loan by institutions.
In 1997, WDI contracted John Griswold of Wharton and Griswold Associates, Inc. to perform a comprehensive condition survey of the entire collection. This project included the creation of a Filemaker Pro relational database that would continue to be used by WDI to track condition and treatment information. At the same time, each artifact was visually recorded in digital format by WDI staff. The digital images were also placed in a Filemaker database, and were incorporated into the survey database through relational links. This presentation highlights the key factors in planning and executing such a comprehensive survey, and addresses considerations regarding the role of a corporation in the custodianship of a world class collection of ethnographic materials having high artistic and historic value, including long range conservation planning.
Abstract not available
Chris Stavroudis and Aneta Zebala
See expanded version.
Michael R. Schilling, David M. Carson, and Herant P. Khanjian
See expanded version.
Robert E. O'Connell
See expanded version.